Praising God Through the Storms of Life

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There will be storms in life. That is inevitable.

I’m sure we can all remember a time when everything seemed to be crashing all around us, the sky growing dark and cold. During those times, it can be hard to see God in the midst of the pain and the hurt. But, no matter what we feel, we are not alone.

God is in the midst of the storm. He is in the calm after the storm. He is there before the storm.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. ~Isaiah 43:2

When we remember that God is continually with us, the darkness around us doesn’t seem so dark anymore.What a great promise! So when we find ourselves in the midst of the storm, we can still praise Him for His promise to continually be with us.

My challenge for you this week is to remember God’s promise to be with you and praise Him for being faithful in that promise. Even though these storms can be difficult and painful, there is comfort knowing that we are not alone. For that, we praise God.

signi

An Essay on Stars and God’s Love (Guest Post)

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Breaking news: I love space. Also, God loves us enough to make stars for us, so that’s awesome.

I do not know why I love the stars so much.

My first memory of the night sky is standing on the driveway, the rough cement beneath our feet and the night like a blanket and my father pointing up to the heavens, tracing the stars into the constellation.

“Cygnus,” he would say with absolute confidence and a little bit of awe. “Orion.”

Why, I always asked. They don’t look like anything but pricks of light. Who was the first person to gaze up and see people?

My parents explained once upon a time, there were no lights. Every night, the sky seemed like it was on fire with the stars. There were more of them to see and trace.

Maybe that was what lit the passion inside me.

I have looked through a telescope two times in my life. Once, the neighbors down the street— a single mother and her teenage son— invited us to glimpse the heavens through theirs. I do not remember what we looked at. Perhaps it is only a dream. I only remember the coldness of the night and the darkness of the sky.

The second time, we went out with our friends the MacMillians to the golf course by their house. It was a bad place to look at stars; there was so much light pollution. But we had just finished a unit in school on astronomy and space and they had a telescope they had acquired from somewhere. We looked at the Moon, I believe, and tried to find Jupiter or Mars.

I remember lying on the golf course and staring up into the blackness with coats bundled close. We couldn’t actually see anything, but we imagined we could.

When I was older, we went to a planetarium. The animated heavens wheeled over us. They drew lines between the stars in the constellations. I did not like the fake stars. I wanted the real stars.

When I was nine and at summer camp for the second time, I was sick in the middle of the night. Most of what I remember is the walk with my counselor down to the infirmary, her hand clutched in mine. I looked up through the trees and it took my breath away.

Stars!

But what stars!

So many more than the skies at home. I could only see pieces of them through the treetops, but I longed for more.

Maybe it was just the mystery. Maybe the reason I love the sky so much is the fact that I have never seen it. I have only seen pieces of the heavens. I keep coming back for more, straining my eyes into the navy, looking for the milky way.

In New York City in 1965 the power went out for a night and all the people went up to the top of the buildings and looked up at the stars— spread out over the cities like they are every single night but visible for the first time in a century.

What a sight.

It seems to me that every time I have been out in the night I have only sought after the stars. I do not know why.

They are beautiful but they are distant. They might not even exist anymore. Their light takes eons to reach us; the actual star could be gone by now but the light is still traveling across space, thundering along at 300,000,000 meters per second but space is so massive it hardly makes a dent.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut. I have no idea why.

Space is beautiful but it is beautiful in the same way wildfires are beautiful. It is bone-chillingly terrifying as well; as unforgiving as the ocean.

Perhaps that is why astronauts and cosmonauts share their root in ‘sailor’.

Perhaps the younger version of me wanted to sail— to sail to all the fantastical planets no one has ever set foot on; to glide up to the distant stars and wave hello.

But space takes from you.

Space is unforgiving emptiness— silence and loneliness and coldness.

It is beautiful and breathtaking to look at space— those pictures from the Hubble telescope where every prick of light in the image is not a star but a galaxy, with a hundred million stars its own— they bring tears to my eyes.

But space is also wrong in some fundamental way, like watching an orchestra play without sound; the Wizard Of Oz with Kansas in color.

It is beautiful but it is terrifying once you get out in it, just like the ocean.

Maybe I am in love with space because of the book I had as a child. It was all about space exploration. I fell in love with the space race— with the scientists and their rockets. I could almost feel their emotions— disgust as their ideas were ignored, triumph as their vision was realized.

And under the stars, it seems as if the world is clearer.

The sky is high, higher than the ceilings in the great cathedrals of old. The grass is soft under your bare feet. Above, the stars glimmer down— millions and millions and millions of them.

Why are there stars?

Why did God decide to make stars? We wouldn’t know the difference.

We would never know the difference and yet I like the think that God thought it would bring us joy to look up upon the beauty of the sky ablaze as night.

I like to the think that God thought of me and my friends at our school retreat, lying on the cold grass staring into the heavens in unspeakable joy and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that he saw me and my friends from camp sitting around a dying fire and canning our necks up to the heavens, filled with awe and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that in all his planning for the world, he knew that the stars would fill us with wonder and amazement and a tremendous desire to see and to know, and so he, with hands so old the stars themselves seem like the lights of fireflies, spun them into the great blackness.

He hung each one in the heavens and thought about how it would bring us joy.

And so I am in love with the sky at night, with the stars, with the heavens.

I have never seen it in all its glory, but I know I will someday.

I know I will be driving through the empty lands of Montana some clear, clear night and I will pull the car over the side of the highway and get out and look up at the sky.

And I will not have words.

The sky will be on fire.

I will see the Milky Way, spread out like diamonds, each star so far away and yet looking down on me with unwavering light, older than the rocks I stand on.

And from above, God will smile. “I made them for you,” he whispers. “So you could have this joy.”

—The End—


Hello, everyone! I would like to give many thanks to Hollis Thundercroft from Rag Tag Essays for writing this guest post!

Hollis is a high school senior who writes essays in her free time. She enjoys running, quilting, and sleeping, as well as playing with her two new cats. Her favorite smell is after the rain, her favorite planet is Neptune, and her favorite rocket is the Saturn V, which, she says, you probably shouldn’t bring up in conversation because she will never stop talking about it.

I absolutely LOVE Hollis’s blog and all of her writing. I find her essays to be very powerful, true, and passionate. Please go check out her blog here and leave a comment!

signi

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Eighteenth Birthday Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Hello, everyone! How are you? So today is my eighteenth birthday! Yay! I wanted to do something special to celebrate so I am hosting a giveaway.

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Just like the past two giveaways, there will be TWO winners.

What You Can Win

One person will win this “beauty set.” This prize includes one pair of pink floral socks from Forever 21, one marble necklace also from Forever 21, and one oatmeal, milk & honey bath bomb.

The other person will win this “study set.” This prize includes one mini pink binder, one Dare To Dream marble notebook, and one marble pen.

How To Enter

This is a Raffelcopter Giveaway! Click here to enter.

The giveaway is open from February 4 to February 18, 2018. There are six ways to enter with a total of 8 entry points. Any questions? You can read all of the Terms and Conditions here or email me at happilyabi@gmail.com.

I’m really excited for this giveaway! I hope you have a great day! Good luck :)

signi

Photography: Snow

Hello everyone! How are you? Did you get any snow this week? I did! It snowed on Wednesday so the schools were canceled. Life in the south :)

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The two days off from school were much needed. To celebrate, my family and I went down to the park to go sledding. It was so much fun! It was also so beautiful seeing all of the trees covered with snow.

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In the park, there is a bridge over the little stream. The sound of running water was calming. With the snow, it was even more beautiful.

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There’s something about fresh snow that makes time seem to stop. It’s peaceful and perfect for hot chocolate and reading. :)

Did you get any snow this week? If so, how did you spend your snow day?

signi

Liebster Award

Hello, everyone! How are you? I’m doing pretty well! The second quarter ended yesterday and I finally get a chance to breathe after all of the assignments. Yay! I was nominated by Bella from the Dancing Damsel for the Liebster Award! Many thanks to her! Be sure to check out her blog and her version of the post here.

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The Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who tagged you and display the award button.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asks you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs.
  5. Notify the bloggers of their nomination.
  6. And give them 11 questions to answer!

Questions And Answers

  1. What are a few of your goals for 2018? – I actually just posted a blog post on my 2018 goals. You can read it here.
  2. What’s a song you’ve had on repeat lately? – I love listening to “Well Done” by Carly Bannister. Both Carly and her sister Ellie Holcomb performed at Windy Gap at the beginning of the school year and it was amazing! You can listen to the song here.
  3. If you write, what’s a current WIP about? – I haven’t really been writing recently so I’ll skip this question. :)
  4. Do you have any siblings? – Yes! I have two younger sisters who are amazing! I love them so much. :)
  5. Sweet, salty, or sour? – Sweet! I love all kinds of desserts, especially if my mom or sister made them.
  6. Which book do you wish would be turned into a movie? – I would be so excited if The Selection series became a movie! It would be amazing!
  7. What’s a word you always misspell? – I also misspell “misspell”. I forget there are two “s”s.
  8. If you could live in only one city or town for the rest of your life, what would it be? – I’ve always wanted to live in London.
  9. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? – If I could have a superpower, I would want to have the power of teleportation. That way, I could just “poof” myself somewhere instead of having to drive.
  10. What is the best and worst movie you’ve ever seen? – The best movie I saw was Wonder Woman. It was so good! I don’t know the worst movie that I saw.
  11. Why did you start blogging? – I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while before I finally did start writing. It wasn’t until a lot of my friends started blogs that I decided it was finally time. I started Life as a Homeschooled Teen in November of 2014. It was a way for me to practice writing and I continued by adding more posts about life. And now here I am. :)

Tag! You’re It!

  1. A Day in the Life of Anonymous Me
  2. Call Me Ash
  3. Day Dreamer Teen
  4. Dreamers and Dancers
  5. Elsie LMC
  6. Georgie Grl
  7. It’s Louises Life
  8. Joy Unspeakable
  9. Linds 4 Dance
  10. Livalittle Blog
  11. and You!

Questions For You

  1. What are some of your goals for this year?
  2. What are you looking forward to?
  3. What cheers you up?
  4. Give one piece of life advice.
  5. What is your favorite pizza topping?
  6. If you had to move to another country for 10 years, what are some things that you would miss?
  7. What comes to mind when you hear the word “rabbit?”
  8. What is your most reccommended book?
  9. Do you have a bullet journal?
  10. Tea or coffee?
  11. How would you describe your style?

Thanks again to Bella for tagging me! Be sure to check out her blog and I hope you all have a great day! :)

signi

My 2018 Goals

Hello, friends! You have survived the first week of the new year! Yay! How has it been so far? My days have been pretty crazy as my second quarter of school ends this week and we are scrambling to have enough assignments in the grade book.

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It’s that time again to reflect on the past year and make goals for the future. 2018 is going to be a big year for me, as it is the year that I graduate high school and enter the world of college. While I am very excited for this year, I know it’s going to include lots of scary and uncomfortable changes. But that’s what life is full of! So the best thing is to make this year a great year. You with me? Here are my 6 goals to make this year great.


1. Grow in my devotion to God.

Every year I have had a different theme representing who I wanted to be and focus on for the year. Last year, my theme was peace and the year before it was hope. This year, my theme is devotion. As I looked back on 2017, I noticed how my relationship with Him has faltered a bit due to doubt and personal struggles. What I realize now is that I was resisting God because I wanted so desperately to be in control of things in my life. But, I’m not in control, God is. This year, I want to work on growing closer to God and trusting in Him for my future.

2. Keep my family relationship strong.

My family isn’t perfect but they are wonderful and I love them. We are already seeing the stress that senior year brings but I don’t want that to hinder our family relationship. This year, I want to continue to keep our relationship strong, even while I’m at college.

3. Stay connected to my friends.

I have been so blessed to have great friends who are very involved in our community as well as each other. But that also means that we are constantly busy. While we may not be around all of the time, I still want to stay connected to my friends and keep my relationships with them.

4. Finish Senior year strong.

Senioritis is real. I didn’t realize how real it was until I got my first acceptance letter. Although there is a lot of pressure among my senior class to give up and stop caring now that I’ve been accepted to college, I need to continue doing my best work in class and outside of class. To do this I will:

  • Set priorities
  • Stay organized
  • Stay motivated

5. Invest in myself.

I believe that a healthy mind and body leads to healthy relationships and a happier life. This year, I want to really make an effort to invest in myself. This can include getting back into photography as a creative outlet, writing music as a way to de-stress, and learning to say no when I am stressed and in need of rest.

6. Invest in my blog.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I took a couple of breaks this year. Part of that was because of my sanity, the other part being health-related. While I don’t know what this year will have in store for me, I want to put in a greater effort to be involved in this lovely blogging community. Specifically, I’d like to:

  • Host a giveaway!
  • Comment on 200 posts through the year.
  • and Host guests for collabs!

So that’s what my 2018 looks like! What are your goals for the New Year? Are there any things that you are really excited for this year?

signi

Looking Back: 2017

Hello, everyone and happy New Year! This year has flown by so quickly! Time really does fly when you’re having fun, or just busy. :)

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2017 has been a crazy year for me. Between all of the travels and my surgery and starting Senior year, I’ve been busy! But I wouldn’t change that business for the world! It makes life interesting. :)

In the beginning of the year, I wanted my theme to be growth. But as life continued, I found that my theme was becoming peace. Peace in my school decisions, peace about the future, and peace about who I am, were all really important for me this year.

Popular Posts

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I posted a list of some things that I Want, some things that I Need, some things to Wear, and some things to Read for my 2017 Christmas Wish List.

Link: here.

 

This year I celebrated 3 years of blogging! I talked a little bit about all of the changes on my blog and how I came to be happy with those changes.

Link: here.

 

This summer I took a trip to Europe with my family to visit my grandparents and cousins. It was so much fun and we took so many pictures.

Link: here.

 

March was a particularly good month for me this year. My family hosted quite a bit of people and we did some traveling too. I also worked on memorizing Bible verses and worked on my photography.

Link: here.

 

 

2017 ended pretty nicely for me too! My sisters and I hosted a group of girls for a New Year’s Eve party. Ending and starting the two years with my friends and family is a blessing and I am so grateful that we had that opportunity.

So, how was your 2017? What were some of your favorite parts/memories? I hope that your New Year is just as great!

signi

30 Things I’m Thankful For

Hey, everyone! Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Have you started making your shopping list? I’ve been planning with my family and I’m really excited to spend the holiday with all of my relatives. I always look forward to Thanksgiving day. Speaking of Thanksgiving, there are so many things to be thankful for! Here are 30 Things I’m Thankful For.

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  1. God who has saved me despite the many times I’ve failed.
  2. My family who drives me crazy but I still love them.
  3. Friends who are open and accepting no matter what. The ones who encourage me to be my best every day and help me back up when I fall.
  4. Teachers who work with me to help me get better.
  5. Pastors who will sit with me and walk me through things I may not understand.
  6. Sunday School Leaders who have prayed for me and my family week after week.
  7. Military Families and others who work to keep our country safe.
  8. The changing of the seasons and the beauty that comes with each one.
  9. Vacations and the chance to have a break from the business of life.
  10. Flowers which always cheer me up.
  11. Surprise snail mail from family and friends.
  12. Heaters to keep my home warm.
  13. Socks to keep my feet warm (and for sliding around the floors).
  14. Education and the opportunity to learn.
  15. The wonderful food that my mom makes for me every day!
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  16. Cameras and the chance to capture memories in a photo.
  17. Dishwashers! Because who wants to wash all of those pots?
  18. Sunday afternoons full of rest and reading.
  19. Little handwritten notes left in my lunchbox.
  20. Happy moments with family and friends.
  21. Clear nights full of stars and wonder.
  22. The experiences, both good and bad, that have helped me grow into who I am today.
  23. Failures that have helped me learn from my mistakes and encouraged me to do better.
  24. Technology that allows me to communicate with my family all across the world.
  25. Comfortable beds to sleep in!
  26. Family traditions and the memories that come with them.
  27. Books that come with great adventures!
  28. The authors who have inspired me to write.
  29. The many people who love me and pray for me.
  30. All of you who take the time to read my posts! Thank you so much!

What things are you thankful for? What are you looking forward to the most this Thanksgiving? I hope you have a great week!

signi

My Christmas Wish List 2017

Christmas is 46 days away! Have you starting shopping yet? I have already bought all of the gifts for my family but I’m still working on the ones for my friends. Here is my Christmas Wish List, including links for items in case you need some inspiration. ;)

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Something I Want

Something I Need

Something To Wear

Something To Read

What are some things that are on your Christmas wish list?
Which stores do you go to buy gifts?

signi

Motivation Monday//Rest

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“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.”

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“Come to me, all who are weary and burdered, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

In a world running faster than ever before, it is important to take the time to rest. This time away from the stress of the world is necessary to your health and gives your mind and body a break from running and deadlines. Full rest and peace can only come from God, but we must be willing to receive it. By taking the time to listen for God’s voice, we are opening ourselves up to His rest and peace. My challenge for you is this: make time to rest in Christ today.

signi

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